Reviewing the Unreviewed: November 2019

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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I Knead You Tonight (Slice Series #2) by Teagan Hunter. Read November 3-4. 3 Stars. 

This was compulsively readable, had some sweet romantic moments, and some good banter, but it ended up being just ok for me. The characters were a little more crass than I generally like and it kind of brought down my overall enjoyment. I also didn’t really like Drew. I felt like she was never called out for her reverse snobbery when it came to why she “hated” Winston and she didn’t really take responsibility for the fact that he was only mean to her in response to her being mean to him. While I did like the sweet moments between them, they were mostly a dysfunctional couple and were a little hard to root for. However, by the end they both grew a lot and I liked that.

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Engaging Mr. Darcy by Rachel John. Read October 31 – November 10. 3 Stars. 

Pretty cheesy, but had some cute moments. Not bad for a KU pick, but not one I would want to read again.

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Girl at Heart by Kelly Oram. Read November November 14-15. 3.5 Stars

This was so cute! And also a little cheesy. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed it, there were a few things that kept me from giving it a full four stars. Charlie was likable enough, but I thought she talked a little too much about how rich she was. And what an amazing athlete she was. And while she did have insecurities about her appearance, once she had her make-over she started using words like “gorgeous” to describe herself. She just seemed really full of herself sometimes and had zero self-awareness about it. But other than that, the story was cute (reminded me of On the Fence by Kasie West sometimes) and Jace was the absolutely sweetest character I’ve ever read. I completely adored him and his romance with Charlie. I’m going to try and read more books from this author while I still have my KU subscription.

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Thirteen (Eddie Flynn #4) by Steve Cavanagh. Read November 12-18. 4 Stars. 

I liked this. It wasn’t quite as suspenseful as I had anticipated, but it was a good court room procedural with some surprises. I thought the angle with the serial killer was interesting and the story was well plotted. This is the fourth book in the series, but it’s the first one I read and I found it worked well as a standalone. There was a few relationship histories that I felt I was missing out on, but nothing that left me confused. I’m definitely going to check out more from this author.

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The Whisper Man by Alex North. Read November 18-22. 3 Stars. 

This was decent, but I don’t really get the hype for it. There were a couple of ok surprises, but wasn’t really much a of thriller. Is “Men’s Fiction” a genre? Because this read a lot like Women’s Fiction to me, except about men. It’s a multi-generational tale of fathers and sons and it really focuses on family and emotions more than anything else.

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One of the Girls by Robin Daniels. Read November 24-26. 3.5 Stars.

This was pretty cute, if slightly unrealistic. I adored Nick, though. There was some fun banter and I shipped the romance. 

*****Back on the TBR*****

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Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy #1)  by Maggie Stiefvater. I read the prologue for this and didn’t get farther than that. I just really wasn’t in the mood for this story, but I will definitely try it later. I might wait until the other two books are published first so I don’t have to wait.

WWW Wednesday: November 27, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?

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His Royal Highness by R.S. Grey and Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson. I’ve been in a weird reading mood for what seems like months now. I’ve barely enjoyed anything I’ve read. His Royal Highness is ok so far, but I’m not super invested in the story or characters yet. I’ve read one chapter of Never Have I Ever and I honestly hated it. I’ve seen so many glowing reviews for it, but I’m thinking it will probably be a DNF for me. I am just completely not in the mood for this type of story right now.

What did you recently finish reading?

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One of the Girls by Robin Daniels. I have Kindle Unlimited for a couple months, so that means cheesy contemporaries and romances. This one was pretty cute, though. I loved Nick.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I really don’t know. I’m in such a mood that I have no idea what’s going to catch my interest.

What are you reading?

Review: Reputation by Sara Shepard

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

In this fast-paced new novel from Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars, a tight-knit college town scrambles for answers when an e-mail hack reveals life-changing secrets and scandals.

Aldrich University is rocked to its core when a hacker dumps 40,000 people’s e-mails—the entire faculty, staff, students, alums—onto an easily searchable database. Rumors and affairs immediately leak, but things turn explosive when Kit Manning’s handsome husband, Dr. Greg Strasser, is found murdered. Kit’s sister, Willa, returns for the funeral, setting foot in a hometown she fled fifteen years ago, after a night she wishes she could forget. As an investigative reporter, Willa knows something isn’t right about the night Greg was killed, and she’s determined to find the truth. What she doesn’t expect is that everyone has something to hide. And with a killer on the loose, Willa and Kit must figure out who killed Greg before someone else is murdered.

Told from multiple points of view, Reputation is full of twists, turns, and shocking reveals. It’s a story of intrigue, sabotage, and the secrets we keep—and how far we go to keep them hidden. Number one bestseller Sara Shepard is at the top of her game in this brand-new adult novel.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Reputation will be available December 3, 2019. 

When it comes to reading a Sara Shepard book, I definitely expect some soapy, crazy drama and Reputation did not disappoint on that front.

The story follows the POVs of 5 women: Kit, Willa, Raina, Laura, and Lynn. It may sound like a lot of characters to keep track of, but I think Shepard did a really good job with it. Often times with this many characters I find I only like a couple and get frustrated when the POVs switch away from them, but I didn’t have that problem here. While I didn’t necessarily like all of these women, I enjoyed watching some of the petty drama play out. When that started to get a little much, it was balanced out with the development of the mystery. While I didn’t find the reveal of Greg’s killer to be all that surprising, there were definitely a good amount of red herrings that kept me guessing.

While the story did start out pretty strong for me, it seemed to lose steam a bit for awhile in the middle. Parts of it dragged on for a little longer than necessary and once some of the red herrings were revealed to be just that, I started to lose a little bit of interest in some of the storylines. I was also hoping for some kind of scandalous twist in the end, but it ends kind of quietly with basically everyone getting their version of happily-ever-after. It also tacked on some #MeToo lessons with a pretty heavy hand towards the end that I thought could have been incorporated a little more organically than it was.

Overall, I enjoyed Reputation. I have been in a bit of a book rut lately and this was the first one in awhile that I looked forward to picking up again every time I had to put it down. Though it did feel a little long in parts and it didn’t end as dynamically as I hoped, I enjoyed the soapy drama and I also liked how the mystery played out. I look forward to reading more from Shepard in the future.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

Review: Meet Me on Love Lane (Hopeless Romantics #2) by Nina Bocci

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of On the Corner of Love and Hate comes a romantic comedy about a woman who grudgingly returns home to small-town Pennsylvania, only to find herself falling in love—not only with the town, but with two of its citizens.

Charlotte Bishop is out of options in New York City. Fired, broke, and blacklisted by her former boss, she’s forced to return to her hometown of Hope Lake, PA to lick her wounds. Although she’s expecting to find a miserable place with nothing to do, she is pleasantly surprised to discover it is bustling and thriving.

She’s only supposed to be in Hope Lake temporarily until she can earn enough money to move back to New York. She’s not supposed to reconnect with her childhood friends or her beloved grandmother. She’s not supposed to find her dream job running the local florist shop. And she’s definitely not supposed to fall for not one but two of Hope Lake’s golden boys: one the beloved high school English teacher, the other the charming town doctor.

With a heart torn between two men and two cities, what’s a girl to do?

A perfect blend of humor and heart, Meet Me on Love Lane is the second in a new series from USA TODAY bestselling author Nina Bocci that is sure to charm fans of Josie Silver and Sally Thorne.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Meet Me on Love Lane will be available December 10, 2019. 

What I Liked

-I’m obsessed with that cover! I think it just screams Fall, which is my favorite season. I’m just going to ignore the fact that this book mostly takes place in the Summer and not the Fall, though…

-I love the small town setting. I wish Hope Lake was real because I would totally move there. I loved how close the residents are and how they support each other.

-I liked seeing the characters from the the first book again. We get to know Henry and Nick a little better in this installment and I am looking forward to Nick’s story next.

-I liked Charlotte’s relationship with her father and grandmother. Her grandmother was kind of crazy and unrealistic, but she brought a lot of comic relief that I enjoyed.

What Didn’t Work For Me

-While I liked Henry and Charlotte, I never really felt their chemistry. We were supposed to rely on their childhood friendship to support their strong feelings in the present, but we only get one scene with them as children, which Charlotte doesn’t even remember, and they haven’t seen each other in twenty years. It just wasn’t enough for me to buy it. I could’ve used more development.

-After Charlotte was made to move away, she completely blocked out everything from her childhood. Honestly, this was a little hard to believe. I felt like the really traumatic part of her life was living alone with her mother in New York and blocking out those memories would have made more sense.

-There was a lot of repetition in the writing. Take a shot every time Charlotte says “You’re not wrong” and you will quickly become too drunk to keep reading.

-The whole subplot with almost dating Dr. Max didn’t really accomplish anything. It was barely a love triangle, which isn’t my favorite romantic trope anyways, and it just didn’t work for me.

Overall

Overall, Love Me on Love Lane was just ok for me. I did like the characters and loved the small town setting. However, the pacing felt very slow, I was never really sold on the romance, and most of the big plot points didn’t work for me. That said, I still plan on reading the next book in the series because I like Nick.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

Review: Blitzed (Playbook #3) by Alexa Martin

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Maxwell has finally met an opponent that he can’t best in this new football romance from the author of Fumbled.

According to Brynn Larson, Maxwell Lewis is more trouble than he’s worth. She doesn’t care if he’s a football god with a rock-hard body that brings most women to their knees. After an encounter that ends poorly, she’s not interested in giving him a second chance. The last thing Brynn expects is for him to turn up at her bar months later, hat in hand. It doesn’t matter if he brings more customers to her business–she’s still not going on a date with him.

Maxwell knows he made a mistake. He’d been waiting to make his move on Brynn since the day he laid eyes on her and he was finally ready to go for it until he screwed up. He wishes he could tell her the truth about what happened that night, but he just can’t. He can’t tell anyone, so he’ll make amends and hope she’ll forgive him.

Brynn’s not like other women, though. Playing for the Mustangs doesn’t impress her and gifts make her scoff. Max will have to bring his A game if he hopes to win her over.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Blitzed will be available December 3, 2019. 

I’ve really enjoyed the other books in the Playbook series and while I did like Blitzed, I didn’t think it was quite as good as the others were.

I have been looking forward to Brynn’s story for awhile now. I was glad we finally got to learn a little more about her, but she wasn’t as likable as I expected her to be. She was really hardworking and dedicated to her job and cared a lot about her friends and father, which are all good characteristics. But I also found her kind of shallow, materialistic, and a little pervy. She also had kind of extreme reactions to things that I found frustrating, especially when it came to the big final conflict. I found Maxwell more likable, but didn’t feel like we ever got to know him very well. I also liked seeing the characters from the previous books again, especially TK and Poppy.

There’s a bit of a mystery involving Maxwell’s relationship with his brother, Theo. Theo keeps popping up trying to find Maxwell and Maxwell just keeps telling Brynn not to talk to him. With how many times this is brought up, I thought the conclusion to that plotline deserved a little more attention than it got. It basically provided a couple chapter’s worth of unnecessary drama with Brynn and a small bit of commentary on a current social issue, and that’s it.

Overall, Blitzed was just ok for me. I did ship the romance between Brynn and Maxwell, but I wasn’t as into them as I were the other couples from previous books. This is still definitely worth the read for fans of the series, though, and I am looking forward to more from Martin.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars